Until the other day, any Indian presence in northern Sri Lanka would have been suspect. This was the land where the Tigers roamed with guns in hand. That the Sri Lankan government has expressed its willingness to let ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) operate three hydrocarbon blocks in the region says something about the changing landscape of the island nation.
The issue is not just about the eradication of the LTTE threat, and the growing warmth between the governments of the two nations. China has secured important interests in Sri Lanka, and these blocks could have been awarded to Beijing too.
That they haven’t been shows the efficacy of synchronizing foreign policy and business interests, something that has long been missing in India. Though OVL is yet to make up its mind about working these blocks, the two countries seem to be learning from their past mistakes.